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Top 10 Common Finger Issues and When to Seek Orthopaedic Care

by Princeton Orthopaedic Associates

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Top 10 Common Finger Issues and When to Seek Orthopaedic Care

by Princeton Orthopaedic Associates

Dr. Ark examines a man's hand for his twitching finger issues.

What Are Common Finger Issues?

From simple tasks like typing on a keyboard to more complex activities like playing sports, our fingers are integral to almost everything we do. Whether it's the discomfort of trigger finger or the frustration of thumb twitching, these common issues can make even the simplest tasks challenging. Understanding their causes, symptoms, and available treatments is essential for effectively managing these conditions and returning to living without constant discomfort.

With how integral our hands are in our day-to-day activities, it's not surprising that there are problems that can arise.

Why Is My Finger Stuck?

It can be a bit scary if your finger gets stuck or locked in a position. This condition is known as Trigger Finger. Trigger finger is caused by the tendons in the finger becoming inflamed and thickened, making it difficult for the tendon to move smoothly through its sheath. This can result in the finger getting stuck in a bent position, accompanied by pain, stiffness, and a popping or clicking when moving the finger. For more information, see our blog on trigger finger. 

  • Causes: Repetitive gripping or activities involving the hands, tendon inflammation, or underlying medical conditions.
  • Symptoms: Finger stiffness, popping or clicking sensation when moving the finger, pain at the base of the affected finger, difficulty straightening or bending the finger.
  • Common Treatments: Rest, splinting, anti-inflammatory medication, corticosteroid injections, physical therapy, surgery to release the affected tendon.

Why you can trust us:

  • We have multiple Orthopaedic Hand & Wrist Specialists who treat hand and wrist-related injuries and conditions every day.
  • We have a whole-body health approach when it comes to orthopaedic hand and wrist conditions.
  • We take a comprehensive, patient-first approach to make sure you receive tailored treatment for your specific needs.

Want to know more? Visit our website.


Why Is My Thumb Twitching?

If you have a twitching thumb, it may be a condition called Thumb Twitching. This is involuntary movements of twitches in the thumb. This can be caused by overuse of the thumb muscles, stress, fatigue, or underlying neurological conditions such as carpal tunnel syndrome or nerve compression. It often presents with weakness, tingling, or numbness in the thumb.

  • Causes: Overuse of thumb muscles, stress, fatigue, neurological conditions like carpal tunnel syndrome or nerve compression.
  • Symptoms: Involuntary thumb movements or twitches, weakness, tingling, or numbness in the thumb.
  • Common Treatments: Rest, stress reduction techniques, addressing underlying neurological conditions if present.

Why Do I Have Numbness In My Fingers?

Numbness in fingers can be indicative of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. This condition is caused by compression of the median nerve in the wrist and can lead to numbness, tingling, weakness, or pain in the thumb, index, middle, and half of the ring finger. It may be exacerbated by repetitive motions, injury, or underlying health conditions like arthritis. Learn more from our Carpal Tunnel Syndrome 101 blog.

  • Causes: Compression of the median nerve in the wrist due to repetitive motions, injury, or underlying health conditions like arthritis.
  • Symptoms: Numbness, tingling, or weakness in the thumb, index, middle, and half of the ring finger, pain or discomfort in the wrist or hand.
  • Common Treatments: Wrist splinting, anti-inflammatory medication, corticosteroid injections, physical therapy, surgery to release the carpal tunnel.
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Why Do I Have Stiff Fingers?

Sometimes inflammation of the joints in your fingers can be caused by Arthritis, either Osteoarthritis or Rheumatoid Arthritis. Arthritis is inflammation of the joints that can affect your fingers and thumb. Osteoarthritis results from degenerative changes in joint cartilage. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune condition that causes joint inflammation. Symptoms include joint pain, stiffness, swelling, and reduced range of motion. Learn more about Hand Arthritis.

  • Causes: Degenerative changes in joint cartilage (osteoarthritis) or autoimmune inflammation (rheumatoid arthritis).
  • Symptoms: Joint pain, stiffness, swelling, reduced range of motion, deformities in the fingers or thumb.
  • Common Treatments: Pain medication, anti-inflammatory drugs, corticosteroid injections, physical therapy, splinting, joint protection techniques, surgery in severe cases.

Why Do I Have Stiff Fingers?

That wasn't a typo! Stiff fingers can also be caused by Tendonitis. How do you tell the difference? As mentioned above, the root of stiff fingers with Arthritis is inflammation of the joints. Tendonitis is inflammation of the tendons, often due to overuse, repetitive motions, or injury. It commonly presents with pain, swelling, tenderness, or warmth around the affected tendon, along with limited mobility.

  • Causes: Overuse, repetitive motions, injury, or inflammatory conditions.
  • Symptoms: Pain, swelling, tenderness, or warmth around the affected tendon, limited mobility.
  • Common Treatments: Rest, ice, anti-inflammatory medication, physical therapy, corticosteroid injections, splinting, and modifying activities.

Why Can't I Straighten My Fingers Out?

If your fingers won't straighten it may be Dupuytren's Contracture, a condition characterized by the thickening of tissue in the palm, leading to fingers being pulled into a bent position. The cause is often unknown but may involve genetic factors, injury, or certain medical conditions. It can result in finger stiffness and an inability to fully straighten the fingers.

  • Causes: Unknown, but may involve genetic factors, injury, or certain medical conditions.
  • Symptoms: Thickening of tissue in the palm, finger stiffness, inability to fully straighten the fingers.
  • Common Treatments: Observation for mild cases, collagenase injections, needle aponeurotomy, surgery (fasciectomy).

Why Is There Pain at The Base of My Thumb?

De Quervain's Tenosynovitis is inflammation of the tendons at the base of the thumb. It typically occurs due to overuse, repetitive thumb movements, or direct injury. Symptoms include pain, swelling, and tenderness at the base of the thumb, often accompanied by difficulty gripping or pinching.

  • Causes: Overuse, repetitive thumb movements, direct injury, or inflammatory conditions.
  • Symptoms: Pain, swelling, or tenderness at the base of the thumb, difficulty gripping or pinching.
  • Common Treatments: Rest, splinting, anti-inflammatory medication, corticosteroid injections, physical therapy, surgery (in severe cases).

Why Do I Have a Lump In My Wrist?

Ganglion Cysts are non-cancerous lumps or masses that typically form along the tendons or joints of the wrist or fingers. The cause is often unclear, but they may result from joint or tendon irritation, trauma, or unknown factors. Symptoms include pain or discomfort and a visible lump that may interfere with movement. Read more about Understanding Ganglion Cysts.

  • Causes: Joint or tendon irritation, trauma, or unknown causes.
  • Symptoms: Pain or discomfort, visible lump or mass, may interfere with movement.
  • Common Treatments: Observation, aspiration (draining the fluid), corticosteroid injections, surgery (excision).
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Are you suffering from joint pain?

Please contact us! We'd love to help.

If you have joint pain, please contact us and schedule an appointment. We have urgent care facilities all over New Jersey for your convenience.

Why Do I Have Pain In My Fingertip?

Mallet Finger, also known as Baseball Finger, is caused by an injury to the extensor tendon at the tip of the finger, leading to an inability to fully straighten the fingertip. This often happens due to direct trauma or forceful impact, such as during sports activities.

  • Causes: Direct trauma or forceful impact on the tip of the finger, often during sports activities.
  • Symptoms: Inability to straighten the fingertip, drooping finger, pain, swelling.
  • Common Treatments: The fingertip is splinted in extension for 6-8 weeks, and sometimes, surgery may be needed in severe cases.

What Is Jersey Finger?

Jersey Finger is not something that can only happen in New Jersey. Jersey Finger is an injury to the flexor tendon in the finger, typically occurring when forcefully trying to extend the finger while it is flexed. This can happen during sports or physical activities and results in an inability to flex the finger at the distal joint.

  • Causes: Forceful extension of a flexed finger, often during sports or physical activities.
  • Symptoms: Inability to flex the finger at the distal joint, pain, swelling, and tenderness.
  • Common Treatments: Surgical repair of the torn tendon, sometimes followed by rehabilitation.

Should I See an Orthopaedic Hand & Wrist Doctor?

These finger conditions, from trigger finger to arthritis, can disrupt your daily routine and cause significant discomfort. While mild cases may respond well to at-home treatments such as rest, ice, splinting, and over-the-counter pain medications, more severe or persistent symptoms may require intervention from an orthopedic surgeon.

If you experience persistent pain, swelling, or difficulty performing everyday tasks despite home remedies, it's crucial to seek help from a specialist. Our orthopaedic hand specialists will provide a thorough evaluation, diagnosis, and a tailored treatment plan to address your specific needs. Don't let finger problems hold you back from enjoying life to the fullest. Take your first step towards relief and contact us to schedule today. Your fingers will thank you!

This blog post is meant to be informative and should not act as a self-diagnosis tool. If you’d like to see one of our doctors, please contact us here.

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